‘We need to work together on the building blocks for health’
A NEW approach to tackling the island’s growing mental health challenges has been launched by the States.
The mental health and wellbeing strategy takes on board criticism and improvements identified in two reviews of local services carried out in 2018 and 2022, and seeks to join up the various issues which can impact mental health.
The report from Health & Social Care acknowledged the pressure that services are already under.
In a 2021 survey 42% of respondents said their mental health was worse or much worse than it was before the pandemic, and suicide rates in young men outstripped those of the UK around the same period.
‘Mental health is just one aspect, we need to focus on early prevention and general wellbeing, but also provide services for those who need them,’ said director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink.
‘Services themselves are only one part of the puzzle. It’s a big challenge, but we are all responsible for the island’s mental health and we need to work together on the building blocks for health, such as housing, education, and green spaces.’
The strategy seeks to link data, the accessibility of services, the need for improvements in services, and also takes on remaining recommendations to be implemented from the reviews.
The first mental health strategy was approved in 2013, and saw millions spent on mental health services at the Oberlands.
Since then, the States has signed up to give mental health the same importance as physical health.
But neither HSC or the steering group will receive any additional funding for this strategy update.
‘Where the strategy touches on HSC services, I don’t see it considerably affecting any funding at the moment because all it is taking the services that are already available and putting them together and making them more accessible,’ said HSC’s representative in the steering group, Marc Leadbeater.
‘It is not adding any extra services so we’re not looking for any extra money at this point.’
The strategy can be found at www.gov.gg/mentalhealthwellbeingstrategy.